She's a disaster.
Hammett is a fictional story about the great writer Dashiell Hammett (played by Frederic Forrest). The story finds the writer retired from the Pinkerton Detectice Agency and nursing bad lungs and a taste for the liquor. When old colleague Jimmy Ryan (Peter Boyle) comes a calling, Hammett finds himself down in Frisco's Chinatown district in it up to his neck in muck and grime.
The back story to the production of Hammett is long and disappointing, all of which makes for fascinating reading and available at the click of a mouse. The film we have to view now may not be the one originally envisaged by director Wim Wenders, but on repeat viewings it shows itself to be a very loving homage to the halcyon days of film noir, a film of great technical craft and guile. Though not without issues either...
Production value is high, the set design that brings late 1920s Frisco to life is a joy, as is Joseph Biroc's luscious colour photography. John Barry provides a musical score that smoothly floats around the Gin Joints and Alleyways, while costuming is on the money. Cast are led superbly by the under valued Forrest, with Marilu Henner (Biroc lights her so well), Boyle and Lydia Lei striking the requisite film noir chords, while a host of cameos and short order roles will have the keen of eye putting names to the faces from similar films of yesteryear.
The story is complex, which is purposely complimented by narration, canted angles, slatted shadows, billowing smoke, and of course a number of venues that all anti-heroic detectives must traverse to unravel the mystery bubbling away under the seamy surface. The problems are evident of course, it's a very uneven picture, the re-writes etc leaving a disappointing mark. It's also like watching a performance at the theatre, akin to watching a play, the predominantly stage bound shoot - and the almost forced delivery of lines - makes it synthetic.
But ultimately there's a lot of noir love here, enough to ensure that repeat viewings for those of that persuasion should find themselves rewarded for their time. 7/10
I'm a trained detective!
Marlowe is directed by Paul Bogart and adapted to screenplay by Stirling Silliphant from the novel The Little Sister written by Raymond Chandler. It stars James Garner, Gayle Hunnicut, Carroll O'Connor and Rita Moreno. Music is by Peter Matz and cinematography by William H. Daniels.
Los Angeles private detective Philip Marlow (Garner) is working on what he thinks is a simple missing persons case, how wrong he is!
Q as in Quintessential - U as in Uninhibited - E as in Extrasensory - S as in Subliminal - T as in Toots!
Another of the interpretations for the great Chandler creation of Philip Marlowe, unsurprisingly met with mixed notices - just as all the others have done. You do wonder what Chandler would have made of the role portrayals that came out post his death? I like to think he very much would have enjoyed Garner's take, because this Marlowe is a quip happy wise guy, unflappable and cool, he portrays so much with just a glance, and the girls love him.
The story is juicy in its little complexities, spinning Marlowe into muddy waters the further he investigates things. His life is always under threat, be it by serial ice-pick users or Asian martial artists (Bruce Lee no less in a nutty couple of scenes) wishing to inflict death, or of arrest by an increasingly frustrated police force. Bogart and Daniels keep the whole thing stylish looking, with film noir camera tricks and colour photography infusing the period details. While the supporting cast, notably the ladies, give Garner some splendid support.
It's a different Marlowe for sure, but a thoroughly engaging and entertaining one. 7/10
You're a very bad man, Walker, a very destructive man!
Point Blank is directed by John Boorman and collectively adapted to screenplay by Alexander Jacobs, David Newhouse and Rafe Newhouse from the novel The Hunter written by Richard Stark. It stars Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, Keenan Wynn, Carroll O'Connor, Lloyd Bochner and Michael Strong. Music is by Johnny Mandel and the Panavision cinematography (in Metrocolor) is by Philip H. Lathrop.
Betrayed by wife and friend during a robbery, Walker (Marvin) is left dying on a stone cold cell floor at closed down Alcatraz...
Pure neo-noir, a film that could be argued was ahead of its time, given that it wouldn't find a fan base until many years later. Yet it deserves to be bracketed as a benchmark for the second phase of noir, a shining light of the neo world, experimenting with techniques whilst beating a true film noir heart.
The story is deliciously biting, pumped full of betrayals and double crosses, fatales and revenge, death and destruction. It even has a trick in the tale, ambiguity. It all plays out in a boldly coloured Los Angeles, the photography sparkles as Mandel lays an elegiacal and haunting musical score over the various stages of the drama. The talented Boorman has a field day with the elements of time, shunting various strands of the story around with sequences that at first glance seem out of place, but actually are perfect in context to what is narratively happening, the director gleefully toying with audience expectations. While suffice to say angles are tilted and close ups broadened to further style the pic.
Then there is Walker, a single minded phantom type character, played with grace and menace by Marvin - who better to trawl the Los Angeles underworld with than Marv? This guy only wants what he is owed from the robbery, nothing more, nothing less, but if the meagre reward is not forthcoming, people are going to pay with something more precious than cash. His mission is both heroic and tragic, with Boorman asking the viewers to improvise their thought process about what it all inevitably means. Funding the fuel around Marvin are good players providing slink, sleaze and suspicion.
Deliberate pacing isn't for everyone, neither is stylised violence and stylish directorial trickery, but for those who dine at said tables, Point Blank, and Walker the man, is for you. 9/10
and was very rudely interrupted 15 minutes into the movie
Can't shoot the husband, it just isn't done.
Point Blank borrows quite heavily from the French New Wave cinema, mostly the unconventional narrative structure of many flashbacks and a fractured time-line that constantly jumps back and forth. These flashbacks are not just there to create a certain mood but they show us the fractured state of Walker's mind and that he is not necessarily coherent and rational. In fact he is anything but.
The other conceptual device of the film's direction which points to Marvin being a ghost is that he never kills anyone himself. He is just there when death finally comes to his enemies, he is the catalyst who induces his enemies to kill each other, with Marvin standing by and watching.
You cutting off the original wave at 1959/1960 I presume. It's always tricky, you probably know me by now in that I say film noir never really stopped being made. The French made some stonking noirs in the 60s, traditional stuff, while Blast of Silence is to me pure first wave noir. Not trying to debate your list, I have 1960s films on my neo lists as well
I too have been searching Neo Noirs out using critic lists and other sources and have been both greatly disappointed and happily surprised. The last edition of Film Noir The Encyclopedia lists about 160 Neo Noirs I agreed with about 40 disagreed with 40
New Dawn - New Day - New Life.
Point of No Return (AKA: The Assassin) is directed by John Badham and written by Robert Getchell and Alexander Seros. It stars Bridget Fonda, Gabriel Byrne, Dermot Mulroney, Anne Bancroft and Harvey Keitel. Music is by Hans Zimmer and cinematography (Panavision/Technicolor) by Michael Ferris and Michael Watkins.
When drug addict Maggie Hayward (Fonda) kills a policeman in cold blood, she is promptly sentenced to death by lethal injection. But maybe there is an out? A chance to work for the government?
Why so serious?
A remake of Luc Besson's Nikita (1990), this was always going to suffer the usual remake taunts of why bother? Was it necessary etc? Point of No Return is a good honest action movie, it has style to burn, nifty photography and likable leading actors. The action is well staged and thrilling - and Hong Kongish in style, and bubbling away in the writing are themes of identity, absent parents and a delicately off-kilter oedipal angle. The Nina Simone soundtrack is terrific, while Zimmer works around Nina's songs with an aural assuredness that grabs the attention.
It doesn't push any boundaries, and although it has been noted in some neo-noir circles, it is only a borderline entry in that style of film making. But if kinetic is a good word for you, and ultra violence gives you a shot in the arm, then Bridget and her guns are definitely worth a first date at least. 6/10
"NIPO, Noir In Plot Only."
On an unrelated note to the film I like that phrase which of course describes Neo-Noir best.